July is hot—literally and figuratively—but its cities come alive with festivals, food, and fun. The extra daylight ensures jam-packed days to explore by land or water. Beat the heat by immersing yourself in Chinese culture, from cooking classes and crafts to folk festivals to nightly variety shows.

Weather

It’s hot, hot, hot in July throughout China with higher humidity in the south and east. July is mid-summer and is when heat and humidity climb, particularly in Beijing where temperatures average 97°F and with highs frequently reaching 104°F. More than half of the capital’s rainfall per year falls in July and August. It’s also raining down south where it is monsoon season.

Shanghai is a tad ‘cooler’ with highs soaring to 98°F on average and plum rains continue through early July. It is sweltering along the Yangtze River and sticky and hot in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Macau. Typhoon season, which most often affects Hong Kong, Macau, and cities along the southeast coast of mainland China like Guangzhou and Shenzhen, becomes more active in July.

Crowds & Costs

China’s high season is generally from spring to late fall. Local children finish the school year in July, so expect larger crowds at popular parks, monuments, and museums. Even though it is crowded, trip costs may remain reasonable if you’re flexible and book in advance.

Where to Go

It’s a great time to explore Tibet, ‘the roof of the world,’ as several religious holidays are observed in July, offering visitors and religious pilgrims a culturally enriching experience beyond the capital of Lhasa.

Take a Yangtze River cruise. Originating in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and ending 3,900-miles (6,300 km) at the East China Sea, the Yangtze River meanders through 10 provinces and nine cities, including Chongqing, Yichang, Wuhan, Nanjing, and Shanghai. Cruising along Asia's longest river is a breathtaking four-day journey that starts upstream at Chongqing and ends 200 miles (320 km) downstream in either Yichang or back at Chongqing.

What to Do

Rent a paddleboat in Beijing’s expansive and bucolic Chaoyang Park or join the locals for morning taichi and evening dancing at the nearest park.

Escape the heat by shopping in one of China’s mega, air-conditioned malls packed with luxury shops. Bring your bargaining skills to expansive markets like the Silk Market and Pearl Market in Beijing and get ready to indulge in retail therapy in Hong Kong and Macau. Many shops have semi-annual sales in July.

Beat the heat and enjoy Peking opera in the capital or nightly acrobatics show in Beijing or Shanghai.

July Events

Thangka Unveiling at Tashilhunpo. For 500 years, Tibetan Buddhists have celebrated the Thangka festival, a three-day celebration at Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama, in Shigatse, Tibet. During the religious festival, three massive pictures of the Amitabha Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha, and Byams-Pa Buddha are unveiled and displayed.

Gyantse Horse Festival. Tucked in a valley, the way of life in Gyantse remains largely traditional. The annual horse festival includes horse and yak races, athletic competitions, an open-air market, and Tibetan food. 

Traveling to China in July? Check out these great itineraries.

Best of China - 13 Days. This  tour includes a visit to the Chengdu panda research station, an excursion to Yangshuo, a hike on the Great Wall, and a trip to see the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an. 

Discover Tibet - 6 Days. Adventure to the “roof of the world” on this trip that includes exploring Lhasa and Shigatze’s monasteries and most iconic sights, including the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple. 

Chengdu City & Pandas - 4 Days. Make the most of a four-day trip with visits to the Giant Panda Breeding Center, Leshan Giant Buddha, and Mount Emei.

Chinese Cycling Tour - 10 Days. This 10-day bike tour meanders through nine picturesque cities. 

Highlights from Shanghai to Beijing - 12 Days. From a Shanghai city tour to Beijing’s Forbidden City and the Great Wall to Xi’an’s Terracotta Warriors, this tour offers a great overview to China’s top sites. 

Beijing to Hong Kong Grand Tour - 12 Days. A mix of ancient and modern, this 12-day tour includes stops at Beijing’s Forbidden City, Great Wall, and Summer Palace, Xi’an’s Terracotta Warriors, a three-day Yangtze River cruise, and a couple of days in Hong Kong. 

China’s Ancient Capitals & Yangtze River Cruise - 13 Days. This comprehensive tour includes visits to the ancient capitals of Beijing, Luoyang, and Xi’an plus a stop in Shanghai to explore sights like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Terracotta Warriors, Shaolin Temple, the Bund plus a three-day Yangtze River cruise. 

Discover Tibet’s Cities - 7 Days. This trip includes visits to the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery, and Barkhor Market in Lhasa and the temples and monasteries of Shigatse and Gyantse. 

Highlights of Lhasa - 4 Days. Visit the Tibetan capital’s most sacred sites on this four-day journey to Lhasa. 

Tibet: Train Journey & Everest Base Camp - 11 Days. This tour combines a quick tour of Beijing with ride on the world’s highest railway and a comprehensive Tibetan tour that includes visits to the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Norbulingka, Sera Monastery, and Drepung Monastery in Lhasa, the temples and monasteries of Shigatse and Gyantse, and Everest Base Camp in Tingri. 

More Helpful Info

China in June
China in August
China Travel Insights
China Tours & Itineraries